Chemical compounds

Chemical compounds

Osmium tetroxide is a well-known osmium compound. It is formed by the reaction of oxidants such as nitric acid with elemental osmium. Osmium tetroxide is a volatile solid with a strong oxidising effect.

Crystalline osmium is not a compound, but a specific crystallisation form of the pure element which, due to its chemical properties, is non-toxic up to 400 °C.

Unlike most oxidants, oxidation with osmium tetroxide can occur under stereochemical control. Although it is an expensive and toxic compound, osmium tetroxide has some applications.

For example, osmium tetroxide is used in fingerprint forensics. It also serves to enhance the contrast of cell membranes in electron microscopy.

Other types of compounds include the coordination complexes of osmium. The so-called osmates, anionic oxygen coordination complexes, derive from osmium tetroxide.

Coordination complexes also exist with other ligands such as ammonia, cyanide, carbon monoxide, and nitric oxide. If the ligand is organic, an osmocene may be formed.


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Chemical compounds